Alberta’s expensive, dirty, planetary-fricasseeing, water-ruining tar sands is a non-starter even with many billions of taxpayers subsidies that failed to prop up multi-national corporations with a nationalized pipeline. And now, 330 billion gallons of hideous carcinogenic poisons from giant tailing ponds (visible from space) are seeping into the waterways that empty into the Western Arctic Ocean.
If gooey water-contaminating oil deposits won’t work then how about dynamiting mountaintops, digging up coal and sullying another 100 billion gallons of alpine and glacier meltwater that eventually drains into Hudson Bay, the Eastern Arctic Ocean?
Doesn’t Alberta have environmental regulations to protect its Rocky Mountain-fed freshwater and the semi-arid agricultural system? The governing United Conservative Party (UCP), led by Premier Jason Kenney, recently changed those regulations. With no public consultation, the UCP ended the 44-year moratorium on coal mining. Just like that.
Is there no concern about increasing the province’s carbon footprint with yet another monstrous carbon-emitting project? Apparently, the premier’s office intends on addressing that ‘minor hitch’ at a much later date. After all, this latest cunning plan is, at all costs, about expanding the provincial coffers.
Wait a minute, wasn’t that the Albertan brainchild of the 1970s oil and gas fund, the Heritage Fund? While it has sputtered and languished, its Norwegian counterpart, the Oil Fund of the 1990s, took off. Just look at the comparative chart. Ouch!
The United Conservative Party is desperate for business. Kenney and his caucus are giving away their buried ‘planetary-roasting’ carbon resources, again. The government has reduced its coal mining corporate tax rate from ten to eight percent, delisted provincial parks covering coal-endowed lands, offered coal royalties at a paltry one percent and passed legislation to fast-track coal mining approvals.
About a half dozen cutthroat Aussie coal diggers couldn’t believe their good fortune. Bonanza. A G-7 country that ‘digs’ coal mining and denies climate science. Instead, solar electromagnetic cycles are erroneously blamed for spikes in sweltering summer nights and godawful climate gigafires.
The gangbuster Aussies are led by their hefty climate-denying zealot (and wealthiest coal digger on the globe) Gina Rinehart. She spends millions of dollars, tax write-offs, on hiring the brashest ‘flat-earthers’ that money can buy.
Rinehart’s colossal proposed project, Grassy Mountain coal mine, is about half the size of the 43rd largest island on Earth, Vancouver Island. It’s nestled along the eastern slope of Alberta’s southern Rockies near the picturesque Crowsnest Pass (soon to be decapitated). Over its 23 years, this behemoth coal mine will spew 296,010,000 metric tons of fossil fuel combustion heat (carbon dioxide) into the overburdened atmosphere and ocean, and sour enough freshwater to sustain a city of 10,500 people for almost a quarter century. It is not just the acidity of the freshwater, likened to vinegar that is at stake, but also, the release of toxic heavy metals like selenium that will pollute anything the water touches. In order for Rinehart’s coal mine to move full-steam ahead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government must sign off.
Why are the Aussies so keen on Alberta’s coal, hasn’t Canada signed onto the Paris Agreement with its commitment of meeting the 2030 climate target? Other than the fact that the current Alberta government is thumbing its nose at that agreement, it is mismanaging its natural resources on behalf of the people and handing the Aussies billions of potential taxable dollars whilst polluting Mother Earth and our brethren and sistren, the animals. The demand for this filthy water polluting coal comes from China’s world conquering (and cooking) Belt Road project. One Belt One Road needs more iron ore, pronto. Iron ore is currently smelted from combusting coal, coke coal, to be precise. These opportunistic Aussies want in on the latest Chinese coal rush.
Are there any other non-combustion alternatives to smelt iron ore?
Artificial intelligence (AI), in fact, has teamed up with Star Warsesque-looking concentrated solar thermal stations, which can attain a quarter of the sun’s surface temperature, thereby generating enough heat to smelt iron ore.
We have about a decade to work for the collective future of civilization and all 195 countries by switching to a zero-combustion economy. We must prepare our agricultural systems for more frequent and intense climate instability.
Freshwater is a birthright of the Gen Zs (under 26s) and the remaining wild animals. It also plays a central role in global food security. Biodiversity rich old-growth forests make oxygen and freshwater. They are also regional, continental and inter-continental climatemakers. Old-growth forests are simply priceless. They all require immediate and irrevocable protection within Alberta and across the world. It’s time to enact a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.
You can only have one choice: more coal mines or a habitable planet for your children. Which is it Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!
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